Sliders: Psychic Circle
Three more Sliders episodes to go before I get through my incomplete set, and I can't wait! It's getting harder and harder to come up with titles for these posts. =P While blogging Season 1, I took my cue from the idea of alternative earths and picked titles that gave a sense of place. But Season 2 itself can't seem to be bothered about its own settings.
If I had known that it would be this bad . . . that is, if a psychic had told me that it would be a huge bust . . . oh, I would be watching it anyway and kicking myself for not having listened. LOL!
But why not use a more recent image? =P
This episode is mostly a crock, but the alt-history timeline is worth thinking about. In this world, a psychic warned US President Abraham Lincoln that someone would attempt to assassinate him in a theatre, and so he was able to take precautions to prevent his death. The accuracy of the prediction impressed him so much that he created the office of Prime Oracle, ensuring that the US government would always be one step ahead of both enemies and natural disasters.
Now, I vaguely remembered reading about a psychic warning for Lincoln which went unheeded, so I did some quick checking to see if there were indeed a plausible branching off point between our world and this one. What I learned was that there was no middleman psychic: Lincoln had had his own premonitions of death, both in dreams and in visions while awake, and had believed in them. He just didn't know what to do about them.
On the other hand, there was another US president who got repeated and increasingly specific warnings from someone else that there would be an attempt on his life. And if you have to ask me who that is, then you never read that list of "amazing coincidences" between the lives (and deaths) of Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. (If this episode is anything to go by, they're tied together in pop culture as well!) That is, it's not just the dawning of the Age of Aquarius which would make 1963 a better choice for the historical split than 1865.
But to continue arguing with myself, 1865 also carries the distinction of being the year the US Secret Service was created. This agency's original purpose was to detect counterfeit currency; a few years later, its responsibilities were extended to all kinds of fraud against the government. Only much later did it also become a protection agency. You see where I'm going with this information dump, right? In a parallel world where psychic powers are taken seriously, it makes sense that the detection of lies and the foiling of plots would be the domain of the super intuitive. =D This episode didn't need to create a Prime Oracle; it just needed to give the Secret Service its own "double"!
Of course, the real issue for us is the kind of trouble someone from our world might get into in this world. Strangely, the premise, "Romantic karma from a past life catches up to you," is not a very satisfying answer. (Which movie is the show ripping off here? I can't tell.) I wish the producers had been willing to play up the subplot in which two of our sliders are arrested, fingerprinted, and booked for a crime someone only foresaw them committing. If only because it would raise some issues about surveillance which would be really fun to discuss today! Bwahahahahahahaha!
And even if you like romantic conflict, surely you are tired by now of our on-again, off-again lovebirds making each other jealous with people from every other world. So how about a story in which they finally make their relationship official . . . only for a psychic matchmaking service to tell them that their pairing will end in tragedy? In a culture where nobody leaves the future to chance, you can bet that people will only marry a "sure thing." What would happen if their values went up against those of two "gamblers" from our world, who have been playing "universe roulette" for a year?
Your Turn to Slide: If you could know one thing for certain about your future, what would it be?